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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 28, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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of something, i'm not sure what. but the video has gone viral on u tube. it now has on the broadcast tonight, up on the broadcast tonight, up for grabs. just six days to go. tonight the all-out brawl for iowa. a new poll with some surprises and nbc's chuck todd goes one on one with newt gingrich. the dramatic farewell for north korea's dictator. the elaborate funeral shown to the world from one of the most secretive places on earth. fighting cancer. tonight news about a drug that could give women more time. where is winter? golf in december, skiing on the water? this year a lot of folks can barely remember december. plus, hollywood mourns a crowd favorite. plus, hollywood mourns a crowd favorite. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
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from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. brian is off tonight. i'm lester holt. there is some real political drama building tonight ahead of next tuesday's republican caucus in iowa. a brand-new poll of likely caucus-goers has just reshuffled the gop deck showing mitt romney with a late surge, now moving out front with 25%. previous front-runner ron paul is hanging close at 22%. rick santorum showing his own late momentum has now overtaken former house speaker newt gingrich to run third. tonight gingrich is telling nbc news nbc four may be good enough. his conversation with chuck todd is coming up, but we begin with peter alexander in clinton, iowa where the candidates are picking up the pace racing the clock and each other. peter. >> reporter: lester, good evening to you. while this new polls shows just how volatile the gop field still
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is, ron paul has steadily remained at or near the top through the course of this political campaign, and again today he was the target of nearly every other candidate looking to erode his supports. their messages by now well-honed. the republican presidential candidates scrambled to making the closing pitches to the tens of thousands undecided iowans. >> it's an absolutely gorgeous, brilliant, sparkling day here in creston, iowa. >> reporter: seven candidates, more than 30 scheduled stops statewide. mitt romney largely ignored his republican rivals today instead directing his strongest attacks at the president. >> make sure we send president obama to his hometown where he can learn what it's like to work in the private sector. >> reporter: the romney campaign is enjoying a growing wave of support here with two overflowing crowds today. >> what an extraordinary turnout. >> reporter: the discontent and anger over the economy has taken up residence in iowa with dozens of "occupy" protesters
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demonstrating today outside romney's des moines headquarters where police made a handful of arrests. trying to capitalize on his newfound strength, rick santorum appealed to conservatives, trumpeting his position on a pivotal issue for evangelical christians, abortion. >> life begins at conception. it's not a belief. it is a fact. >> reporter: michele bachmann also aiming at conservatives argued that they can be confident her social and fiscal positions will never waver. >> i've got a backbone. it's made out of titanium. >> reporter: back campaigning for the first tim since christmas. >> if you pick another status quo presidential candidate nothing will change. >> reporter: ron paul whose base has remained intact throughout this volatile political season released this new ad attacking romney and newt gingrich. >> serial hypocrites and flip floppers. >> reporter: finally in a campaign that's featured sharp
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exchanges, romney and gingrich continue to fight over of all things chocolate, initially fueled by romney says this about the state of the gingrich campaign. >> you compare that to pearl harbor? i think it's more like lucille ball at the chocolate factory. >> reporter: gingrich found the jab too sweet to pass up. >> report to governor romney we've taken his thoughts so seriously, that in the tradition of lucille ball here here at the chocolate factory. >> yeah. >> reporter: also tonight this new poll shows mitt romney opening up a wide lead in the next state to vote, lester, new hampshire. >> peter alexander, thanks. one of the biggest headlines in the final stretch is newt gingrich's rapidly plunging support in iowa. tonight the former house speaker is crunching his own numbers and sharing them with our chief white house correspondent and political reporter, chuck todd. chuck joins us now from des moines. good evening, chuck.
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>> reporter: good evening, lester. for the entire year the question hanging over the republican race is who is the alternative to mitt romney? today we spent the day with the once surging newt gingrich who days ago looked like he locked up the anybody but romney slot but was now struggling. newt gingrich now acknowledging his slipping status in iowa making the case that a close fourth could be enough. what do you have to do here in iowa? >> you have to be in the up top three or four. >> reporter: you have to win iowa or new hampshire? >> and south carolina. every single one. >> reporter: for gingrich it's about trying to become the lone alternative to mitt romney, and romney is doing everything he can to keep the former speaker down here. today a telling exchange over romney's health care mandate. >> i knew he supported the plan in the past, and i believe he supported it until he got into the race this year. maybe before that he changed his view. >> it's amazing that everybody, hart taj foundation, newt
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gingrich, everybody else has figured out mandates are bad, and mitt romney is still standing there with mandates. >> gingrich attacked romney about the super pac and restated the campaign pledge to stay positive. we showed a mailing from a super pac that supports him. >> mitt romney is the second most dangerous man in america. does that cross the line in your opinion? >> i wouldn't call him the second most dangerous man in america. i'm happy to publicly urge them to not repeat that line in future mailings. >> reporter: gingrich expressed disappointment at republican colleagues critical of his tenure of speaker of the house. >> it surprises me. it probably shouldn't have. i fully expected the left, and then i expected -- i really didn't expect people i'd been colleagues with, people i'd known for years to be as negative. >> reporter: several times during the interview he linked himself to former president ronald reagan and compared his battle with romney to old battles with moderate republicans like george h.w. bush. >> the fight with romney is
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exactly the fight reagan was in with the establishment in the '80s. it's amazing how none of the fault lines have changed. >> reporter: one obstacle with gingrich with christian conservatives pift pivotal in iowa is his marital history. what's your relationship like with your ex-wives? >> with my first wife, we have a relationship because we share two daughters and two grandchildren, and it's very respectful on both sides. >> reporter: your second wife? >> we don't have a relationship. >> reporter: if he doesn't get the republican nomination, would he consider running on someone else's ticket? can't imagine you'd be asked? >> i can't imagine i'd be asked. >> reporter: why? >> i'm too strong a personality. would you want to be a president nominee with me as your vice presidential nominee? >> reporter: gingrich let us know that one of the reasons he didn't make the virginia ballot, lester, was he basically had bad staff work, he said, and that's what he's blaming it on. >> chuck, he talks about it's important to be at least three or four in iowa. we saw that new poll out that
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shows him at four. does he have an explanation for that? >> reporter: you know, he doesn't, but he has been already rejiggering expectations a little bit. check out those numbers. we did a little math here. you have romney and paul with their constituency bases and eat up 47% of the vote. the next four folks add up to 50, and that's the gingrich problem or it's the rick perry problem or the rick santorum problem or michele bachmann problem. the point is the conservative vote, whether it's the evangelical or hard core conservative votes, the tea partiers are getting split up four ways, and that's why mitt romney is suddenly seeing an opportunity to actually win here. that's the game. if that conservative vote consolidates, romney would be in trouble, but it's not. lester. >> chuck, thanks. overseas there was an elaborate and dramatic farewell today for kim jong-il, the leader of one of the most isolated places on earth, north korea.
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he died ten days ago, and as his nation paid its final respects, the eyes of the world were on his young, untested successor. nbc's adrian wong watched it all from neighboring south korea. >> reporter: it was a tightly choreographed spectacle of grief. for nearly three hours north korean television transmitted images of official mourning. kim jong-il's funeral prosession following a 25-mile route through pyongyang. thousands of north koreans, many elite members of regime, struggling to catch a final glimpse of the man they called "dear leader." weeping openly often hysterically shouting "father, please don't leave us," as cameramen moved in for close-ups. how much was staged or forced is impossible to say. procession, kim jong-il's son
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and successor, kim jong-un followed by his uncle, many say the power behind the throne. a well orchestrated message of stability and continuity strikingly similar to the erican-looking limousines.its the image, the regime pyongyang wanted the world to see. over here across the border in the south, north koreans who fled their homeland had a different opinion. >> translator: the only thing kim jong-il did was to starve 3 million people to death said this woman. she escaped the north eight years ago and works at an independent radio station in seoul. south koreans seemed resigned to more of the same. >> the people become so used to emergencies, to crises one after another that at some point people have, you know, sort of become indifferent. >> reporter: tomorrow north korea will observe a three-minute silence but questions about this untested
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new leader and where he might lead his impov riched nuclear-armed country are likely it to last much longer. adrian wong, nbc news, seoul. there is a new threat tonight from iran to block a critical supply route for oil. the strait of hormuz linking the persian gulf to the world sea-lanes. tonight the u.s. navy is warning iran don't try it. more on this from our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell in the washington bureau. andrea. >> good evening, lester. iran has made these threats before, but the pentagon issued that stern rebuttal because some u.s. officials worried this time it could be more than just bluster. they're staging military exercises near the strait possibly in response to a recent senate amendment imposing the toughest sanctions ever on iran's banking system and oil trade. the obama administration opposed that senate vote, wanting to phase in more targeted sanctions because the strait of hormuz is the key passageway for one-sixth
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of the world's oil. the crisis could add $25 a barrel at least to oil prices, hitting the world's economy and, of course, stalling the american recovery right here just as its recovering. another big concern is also that these new sanctions will hurt a key u.s. ally, japan, which relies heavily on iranian oil. the senate voted unanimously, though, 100 votes in favor. they almost never do that. now the president is boxed in. if he tries to get around the sanctions, he'll be accused of being soft on iran, and if he doesn't, he risks higher oil prices and stalling the economic recovery here at home in an election year. lester. >> andrea, while we have you here news out of syria. arab league are witnessing the uprising and the government crackdown first hand. what are they finding? >> it's very troubling so far to u.s. officials because the arab league monitors have been on the ground for two days and they have not pushed back against restrictions that the regime has imposed on their inspections, and these are the first outside monitors that syria has permitted in. they have blocked their access
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to key areas where atroscities are reported. the u.s. is withholding any formal criticism because they hope this mission can succeed. in these two days the monitors have not gotten in and activists are reporting six more killings and opposition leaders are calling this arab league effort a farce. lester. >> andrea mitchell, thanks. important health news tonight about the fight against ovarian cancer, which kills more than 15,000 american women each year. two studies out tonight show that avastin, a drug already approved for other cancers but is also controversial, could help women buy more time in the battle with this deadly disease. we get more now from nbc's chief science correspondent, robert boozell. >> reporter: she learned she had ovarian cancer two and a half years ago. at first standard chemotherapy drugs worked, but last summer her cancer suddenly got worse. at that point her doctor added avastin to her regimen and she
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quickly improved. >> i think avastin was the key that clicked everything for me. >> reporter: the studies out today show avastin, which works by blocking blood supply to tumors, helps some patients with both early and late stage ovarian cancer. >> it's a significant finding. it's something we up expect based on our understanding of the biology of the ovary and its normal function and the changes that occur with cancer. >> reporter: avaus tin is already approved by the fda to treat colon, lung and kidney cancer. many say the biggest problem is it's price, $80,000 to $100,000 per year. it's not clear where avastin will win fda approval for ovarian cancer. >> don't take our drug away. >> reporter: recently in a highly emotional reaction to the fda's decision not to approve avastin for breast cancer. >> there's not evidence to support the approval. >> reporter: many experts say the evidence just didn't prove it worked.
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even in the latest studies with ovarian cancer the average survival without the cancer progressing was only a few months, but such averaging include women like pamela todd who have sensational results and others who do not respond at all. many doctors want tests to determine which patients benefit. >> it requires more time, research, and probably brains. >> reporter: for now avastin remains a controversial, sometimes effective, and highly expensive drug. robert boozell, nbc news, new york. when "nightly news" continues for this wednesday, the burning question, where's winter? whether you like cold or snow at all, there's little of either. why is that? later a generous woman in a chow line that's anything but ordinary. generous woman in a chow line that's anything but ordinary. but to be honest, i find the omega choices overwhelming. which one is right for me? then i found new pronutrients omega-3. it's from centrum. a name i trust. it goes beyond my heart to support my brain and eyes too.
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and these ultra concentrated minigels are much smaller than many others. it's part of a whole new line of supplements. there's probiotic and fruit & veggie too. new pronutrients from centrum. look for your five dollar coupon in this sunday's paper. come soups that you'll love getting to know. new slow kettle style soups from campbell's. extraordinary taste sensations crafted from premium ingredients. slow kettle. new from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. and get a cold... need a cold medicine with a heart. only coricidin hbp has a heart, right here. it's the only cold and flu brand that won't raise your blood pressure. coricidin hbp. powerful cold medicine with a heart. welcome to the neighborhood. ♪ [ male announcer ] how do you say... can you believe it's been 20 years since college? ♪ [ male announcer ] nothing says "you're special"
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like boursin, a creamy, crumbly blend of real cheese and savory herbs, boursin makes any moment more memorable. even if you're saying... my mother has the kids tonight. ♪ [ male announcer ] how do you say boursin? we're back with a question many people are asking on this late december evening, where, oh, where is winter? usually this time of year we've had a big winter storm to tell you about, but not this year. in fact, records are being set this season for how little snow there's been. for some that's good news. for others cold comfort. nor now from nbc's mike taibbi. >> reporter: at squall valley
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resort it's a brutal start to the season. only 5 of 170 trails have any snow at all. >> we make the best of it with two runs we have. >> reporter: while they're skating and dining and as much man made snow they can produce for the kids and die-hards, it sure doesn't feel like winter. >> it can turn on a dime. that's how it works in the sierras. >> reporter: it's not turning yet. from california and the pacific northwest, across the great lakes region and to the northeast, there's less than half the snow on the ground than there was last year with unusual ockers.eam patterns acting as >> the jet stream setup is different from last year. we don't get the cold air, so most of what's falling is rain and not snow. >> reporter: temperatures have been so unseasonably warm than more snow machines are sitting idle than grooming the slopes. in places like usually he snowbound boise the cabin feverish are hitting to the tee instead of planning to ski. in fact, the records unlike the snow are piling up. reno will have its first snow-less december since the late 19th century.
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new york only its third. on this day last year, in fact, new york was paralyzed by a blizzard. today hardly. in minneapolis last year the metrodome collapsed beneath a mountain of snow. today 37 and sunny. squaw valley last december? spectacular. this time last year on this very spot, the snowpack was so thick, about twice my height, if you were on one of those chair lifts your feet might have grazed the snow. on the flipside cities and states are saving millions on snow removal. in rochester, new york skiers are adapting. in a few places where there is plenty of snow are snowing. think albuquerque and tucson. >> epic conditions, man. tons of powder. >> where they're still waiting? hope and history. >> all it takes is one four-foot snowfall, and everybody's memories will be erased. >> mike taibbi, nbc news, squaw valley. look at the show that nature put on yesterday in the skies above the washington, d.c. area.
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after a cloudy, stormy day a burst of color. a glorious rainbow captured on camera before it disappeared. up next what forrest gump and hannibal lecter have in common. don't worry, it's a good thing. and hannibal lecter have in common. don't worry, it's a good thing. [ female announcer ] to get a professional cleaning system
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you could spend as much as $200. olay says challenge that with an instrument that cleanses as effectively as what's sold by skin professionals for a whole lot less. new olay pro x advanced cleaning system. for many, nexium helps relieve heartburn symptoms caused by acid reflux disease. osteoporosis-related bone fractures and low magnesium levels have been seen with nexium. possible side effects include headache, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. other serious stomach conditions may still exist. talk to your doctor about nexium.
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my mama always said, life was like a box of chocolates. you never know what you're going to get. >> what the movie "forrest gump" got today was a big honor along with "silence of the lambs" and
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"bambi" it was among 25 film classics named national treasures and selected by the library of congress for the wor world's largest film archive, the library of congress for the national film registry. tonight the movie world is mourning the loss of a screen legend, cheetah believe to be the original sidekick chimp of the 1930s tarzan films, cheetah died over the weekend at a primate sanctuary in florida after experiencing kidney failure. he was a remarkably 80 years old. try to follow us here. friday, this friday, december 30th, will not happen this year in the tiny pacific island nation of somoa. somoa is canceling friday, dropping it from the calendar just this once, because it has decided to move from the eastern to the western side of the international date line and it needs to sync up with its two biggest trading partners new zealand and australia, where
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today is already tomorrow or something like that. maybe they can cancel monds. a quick look at wall street. it was not one of the market's better days. the dow fell nearly 140 points, nasdaq down 35. up next here, the right recipe for making a difference. here, the right recipe for making a difference. [ male announcer ] how can power consumption in china, impact wool exports from new zealand, textile production in spain, and the use of medical technology in the u.s.? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason over 75% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. but my nose is still runny. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil doesn't treat that. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms, plus it relieves your runny nose. [ deep breath] awesome. [ male announcer ] yes, it is.
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that's the cold truth! and these come together, one thing you can depend on is that these will come together. delicious and wholesome. some combinations were just meant to be. tomato soup from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. if you have painful, swollen joints, i've been in your shoes. one day i'm on top of the world... the next i'm saying... i have this thing called psoriatic arthritis. i had some intense pain. it progressively got worse. my rheumatologist told me about enbrel. i'm surprised how quickly my symptoms have been managed. [ male announcer ] because enbrel suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculis, lymphoma, other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b,
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have been treated for heart failure, or if, while on enbrel, you experience persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. get back to the things that matter most. ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. [ male announcer ] enbrel. the #1 biologic medicine prescribed by rheumatologists. finally tonight, making a difference. what started as one grateful woman's simple recipe for thanking america's troops has now become a holiday tradition making a difference for more than two decades. here's nbc's anne thompson. >> reporter: this is her recipe for gratitude, omelet fixing, a
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hot griddle and a heaping help of appreciation. >> you're working hard and i appreciate everything you're doing for us. >> reporter: for the 23rd year the air force reserve chief served up a holiday breakfast at new jersey's mcguire air force base. there were fewer than two dozen takers when she first started. this year there are over 300 takers. her final breakfast before she retires. airmen from the past and for the future. >> we certainly can't give them bonuses and awards and decorations as much as we'd like to. just saying thank you, those two words go a long way. that's the gratification i get. >> reporter: this daughter of russian immigrants joined the service out of high school to repay her family's adopted country. >> our family was so appreciative. i felt that's something i would want to be a part of and give back. where does this other end connect into, then? >> reporter: she has for 37 years, rising from the lone woman in her squad to a leader of women and men. but this year the airmen who serve under the chief want to make sure she knows what she means to them.
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she pays for the breakfast out of her own pocket but collects donations for airmen in need. one year it paid for the funeral of unique scales brown's mother. >> she cut me a check to help pay for funeral costs. >> reporter: this year it will help michelle who's adopted children with special needs. >> she has a big heart and likes to give back. >> reporter: karen, born in india and now an american citizen, says her lasting legacy is the opportunity she offered him and the hundreds of airmen she mentored in her communications squadron. >> she never made me feel like i owed her something or if i became successful there was a return of investment. she treated me like one of her own. >> reporter: the perfect recipe for respect and success. anne thompson, nbc news, mcguire air force base. that's our broadcast for this wednesday night.
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thank you for being with us. i'm lester holt. we hope to see you back here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac --


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